Interview with Gerardo Delli Bovi, owner of D.B.G. Service, whom after many years in the footwear and handbags cleaning sector is ready to bring his small town business from Lombardy to the global stage thanks to a special machine that rejuvenates leather.
Observation: a natural talent Gerardo Delli Bovi honed though many years of work.
An indispensable skill especially now that this 49 year old Salerno native, bold and intuitive as is typical of natives of that area, is about to launch a machine bound to instantly win over the market with its outstanding capability: it not only cleans, but makes footwear look brand new. One of the greatest challenges for the laundry industry of our era has been successfully tackled.
To understand this breakthrough we must go back to 1997. That year Geraldo Delli Bovi started working as a driver for a specialty dry-cleaner, picking up hard to clean items such as quilts, carpets, leather garments and duvets from other laundries.
Three years later he opened his own service facility, where he would personally receive the items to be cleaned and, based on his own working experience, decide where to send them for cleaning. “Because – Delli Bovi says – I knew exactly who could best clean duvets, wool blankets, or was best equipped to clean leather garments”.
Nonetheless, customers are notoriously hard to please. “They rightfully continued to demand better turn-around times, services, finishes – explains Delli Bovi – and therefore based on my extensive and long-standing experience I finally decided it was time to take a huge chance”.
By the end of 2008 his huge chance had a name: D.B.G. Service. Beyond a beautiful facility in the Milan province town of Sedriano, this translates into a top quality business. “Simply because – Gerardo clarifies – many years of working for others gave me a first-hand view of the market dynamics as well as its deficiencies. The first thing I noticed were the cost-savings practices by which large laundries do only the bare minimum when it comes to cleaning items such as duvets or leather jackets, and primarily use neutral detergents that only clean the surface instead of deep cleaning agents”.
“On the contrary, – the owner of D.B.G. continues – quality is the only way to deal with these types of garments. I implemented this approach through very specific choices. As such, I started using the best detergents, sequential cleaning processes, sanitizing additives, neutralizers to compensate the action of detergents, and making sure the water ph and temperature settings were exactly as required for each type of load”.
Delli Bovi’s are indeed momentous choices, made on a hunch that the dry-cleaning market was bound for major changes, which developed in the years thereafter and continue to this day. Among the foremost of these is the multiplication of services required by customers, who no longer show up at the dry cleaners with bags of laundry filled with garments of all types and fabrics. These days they bring in fewer garments and are likely to have a specific request for each of them. This is because in addition to cleaning an item laundries are now expected to make it last longer or, as the case may be, make it look brand new.
Meanwhile, keen observation continues to inspire the right choices. “A few years ago – confirms the owner of D.B.G. – I realized customers increasingly need to have footwear last longer, especially when besides being beautiful it costs a fortune. The same holds true for handbags, a notorious form of self-expression for women whom, given the choice, would hang on to their favorite forever. Hence in spite of being surrounded by a lot of skepticism, l decided to invest in the footwear and handbags cleaning business”.
Renzacci, another top quality company, plays an important supporting role by supplying D.B.G. with a hydrocarbons powered machine with dry-cleaning quality and environmental protection performance capabilities far greater than PERC machines.
This chance yielded amazing results, not only considering the current state of the business which derives 40% of its sales volume from cleaning footwear and handbags, but also in view of the forthcoming future. This means the founding of new company, In Pro (which stands for Innovative Project) and the consequent launch of a new machine specifically designed and built to clean footwear. “It’s a prototype – reveals Delli Bovi – specifically designed for cleaning footwear, which has much greater “heat shrinkability” and moves quite differently than clothes within a centrifugal agitator and therefore needs to be cleaned in a different way”.
The initial results, many pairs of freshly cleaned shoes with a “like new” shine currently on display at D.B.G., will be shown publicly this summer during a series of demonstrations held in preparation for the grand opening of Expodetergo International. Thereafter the company’s plans are clear, and simply named: “abroad”. Start exporting the machine and host special user training workshops.
Gerardo Delli Bovi says the groundwork is ready and we believe him, even more so once he reveals that “our experience in the field has guided this choice. It made us understand that the market solely needs this new machine”.
Thus is an observer’s talent in action.